Hepatitis B and C Infection and Latest Treatment!

Hepatitis B and C Infection and Latest Treatment!

2020-05-08

By Siddharth Jain, Gastroenterology

Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver. The condition is either self-limiting or progressive, and may lead to cirrhosis, fibrosis or even liver cancer.

Hepatitis B (HBV)-
Hepatitis B is an acute or chronic liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B Virus. This virus is transmitted through exposure to semen, infective blood and body fluids. The virus can be transferred from the infected mother to a newborn at the time of birth. Transmission is also possible through transfusion of HBV-infected blood or blood products and contaminated needles/injections. You may develop Hepatitis B if you have sexual intercourse with an infected person.

Symptoms-

  1. Vomiting and nausea
  2. Fatigue
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Dark-colored urine
  5. Abdominal pain
  6. Joint pain

Short-term symptoms may be observed from 2-4 months after exposure to HBV, and last for about 6 months.

Hepatitis C (HCV)-
Caused by the Hepatitis C Virus, this disease is mostly transferred through exposure to infectious blood. This usually occurs through transfusion of HCV-infected blood products or blood, contaminated injections and through shared contaminated needles.

Symptoms-

  1. Easy bruising or bleeding
  2. Poor appetite
  3. Itchy skin
  4. Unintentional weight loss
  5. Yellowish discoloration of the eyes and skin
  6. Swollen legs

Approximately 75-80% of people diagnosed with this virus tend to develop chronic Hepatitis C.

Treatment for Hepatitis-

  1. Hepatitis B and C can be treated with the help of antiviral medications.
  2. In case of serious complications developed from chronic Hepatitis B and C, the best option may be liver transplant. This is a surgical procedure where the diseased liver is replaced with a healthier one. The liver is transplanted from either a deceased donor or a living donor. After the transplant, antiviral drugs are prescribed to keep your liver healthy and functional. Many studies have revealed that direct-acting antiviral medications are very effective in curing Hepatitis C post-transplant.
  3. One preventive measure for Hepatitis B is a HBV vaccine. The first dose is recommended within 24 hours after birth, followed by two or three doses after that. However, there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C.
  4. Hepatitis is a common virus. But there are ways to steer away from it. A few precautionary measures can help you avoid coming in contact with the virus. Most of the time it is curable and usually do not lead to serious complications.